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Farmers profitability of alternative cropping patterns in Southern Sindh.

Thatta and Badin districts are the major part of Southern Sindh. The practice in the most of the area is cultivating twice a year and inter planting of few crops. The main competing crops in rabi season are: wheat, barley, and barseem fodder. For Kharif season, rice and sugarcane are the major crops. Maize, jowar, bajra and kharif and rabi vegetables are also grown in the area.


Profitability is an expression of the efficiency of using local resources to produce a particular product when measured against the possibilities of trade. Profitability can be expressed in different ways. Lipsey (1989), defines pure profit as any excess of revenue overall the opportunity costs, including those of capital. Any risk premium necessary to compensate the owners of capital for the risks associated with its use should also be deducted. Alternative terms to pure profit are "economic profit" or, where there is no room for ambiguity, just profit (Samuelson & Northaus, 1989). They further stated that profit is merely the return to the owners of the firms for their own labourer their own invested ordinarily called profit, which is really nothing more than implicit rentals, rent and wages for factors the firm itself owns.

Since resources of farms are scarce the ability of a society to produce goods and services is also limited. Therefore, all societies face decisions about what to produce, how to produce, for whom to produce (Salvatore 1986). Similarly growers must decide what crops to raise, what type of animal system to have, what types of machinery or equipment to buy, what amounts of fertilizer to use, how to use credit, when to market crops and so on.

Growers always tend to maximize profit given the limited resources. To achieve this objective they choose various cropping patterns. To assess the profitability from various cropping pattern is of almost importance in the province of sindh to help growers to follow such cropping pattern. Since no study has been carried out in this regard, the study conducted in the southern Sindh to analyze the profitability of alternative cropping patterns with the following specific objectives:


* To provide an overview from a historical perspective the cropping pattern and crop rotations followed by the farmers in Southern Sindh.

* To assess the profitability of existing cropping patterns with new ones, under the same agro-ecological and socioeconomic conditions, and suggest an appropriate cropping patterns for the studied zones.


At first state, an informal survey in southern Sindh (Thatta and Badin districts) was made for two days during the month of March 1990. During the survey farmers were interviewed to understand the cropping patterns, crop rotations, input supplied and marketing infrastructure etc. A comprehensive questionnaire was developed and pretested before conducting the formal survey. Sample of 100 farmers from randomly selected villages was chosen. Simple budgetary approach was employed to analyze the profitability (Jim et. al, 1987). Profitability was calculated or per acre basis, and efforts were made also to calculate per unit of irrigation water labour and capital. The budget was set up on a micro computer to analyse the impact of changes in yields and prices on profitability.

Results and Discussion - Cropping Patterns

Thatta and Badin districts are the major part of Southern Sindh. The practice in the most of the area is cultivating twice a year and inter planting of few crops. The main competing crops in rabi season are: wheat, barley, and barseem fodder. For Kharif season, rice and sugarcane are the major crops. Maize, jowar, bajra and kharif and rabi vegetables are also grown in the area. The main cropping patterns analysed in this study, involving the main food and cash crops, excluding the vegetable crops. These were selected on the basis of area planted to main crops and from information on the relative importance of different crop rotations. The following cropping pattern mostly prevails in the area.

1. Rice-wheat (one year cycle)

2. Sugarcane plant crop (one year cycle)

3. Rice-barley (one year cycle)

4. Rice-barseem (one year cycle).

Farmers Operations by Major Crops

Each operations involve in the typical production of a crop within the cropping patterns was obtained from the case-study of agronomists and from informal discussions with farmers in the area. The timing of these operations was specified for six bi-monthly periods of the year. These periods formed the basis of estimating seasonal patterns of resource use. The operations, number of times that they are normally performed and timing of the operations for rice, sugarcane, wheat, barley and barseem were estimated.

Yields and Prices

Data on yields of main products and by-products of each crop gathered from survey are presented in table 1. The output of wheat, barley and rice in shape of grain and straw (bhusa and palal) has value as animal fodder. In addition, sugarcane green tops have fodder value (and are usually given to hired labour for harvesting cane). The maize and berseem are used as green fodder or fresh-weight basis.
Yield of Crops Employed in the Profitability Analysis in
Southern Sindh (Yield mds/acre)

Crop Main Product By Product

Wheat 16 12
Barley 11 10
Sugarcane 900 100
Barseem (Fodder) 1917 -
Rice 42 29

Note: Yields of main product of berseem are on fresh fodder
weight basis. Whereas yields of by-products of wheat and rice
are on dry weight basis.

The farmers input and seed prices employed in the profitability analysis are presented in Table II. All the prices are calculated at the farm level and make allowance for any costs of transport for farm to marketing outlet. Farm input prices of irrigation water hired tractor and chemical fertilizer remained constant through the year.

Product and Input Prices Employed by the Individual Crops in
the Southern Sindh

 (Prices In Rupees)


- Grain Rs./mds 84
- Straw Rs./mds 10
- Seed Rs./kg 3


- Grain Rs./mds 93
- Straw Rs./mds 8
- Seed Rs./mds 3


- Cane Rs./mds 14
- Cane tops/mds 2
- Seed Rs./mds 12


- Paddy Rs./mds 68
- Straw Rs./mds 8
- Seed Rs./kg 3


- Green Rs./mds Fodder 10
- Seed Rs./kg 28


- Nitrogen Rs./kg N 7.1
- Phosphorus Rs./kg P 7.1
- Potash Rs./kg K 6.6


- Wheat Rs./acre 24
- Barley Rs./acre 24
- Sugarcane Rs./acre 102
- Rice Rs./acre 36
- Barseem Rs./acre 54


- Hired labour Rs./day 30
- Tractor hired Rs./hour 70
- Bullock hired Rs./day 50
- Land rent Rs./year 1200
- Interest percent/year 10

Profitability of Alternative Cropping Patterns

The profitability of alternative cropping patterns involving traditional food and cash crops is presented in Table III. The individual crop budgets have been calculated to measure profitability by cropping patterns. Each budget have been calculated on an annual basis by dividing the costs and returns for full cycle of the rotation by length of the rotation in years.

The results show that returns to the sugarcane first year plant are higher than the other rotations. However, the average reported yield per acre of sugarcane is still very low as compared to the potential yield. The second most profitable cropping pattern was rice/barseem. The output prices of barseem fodder is much higher than other green fodder, due to high demand of fodder in Hyderabad and Karachi cities. It is observed that those farmers who have land around the road side prefer to cultivate barseem fodder to fetch higher net profit.

Conclusions and Recommendations

* Traditionally farmers cultivate rice and wheat as food crops and sugarcane, barseem and vegetable as cash crops in rabi and kharif seasons. The cash crops are much heavier users of labour and purchased inputs i.e. fertilizer and chemicals than do the main food crops. Thus the peak demand for labour tend to occur during the sugarcane sowing and harvest seasons.

* The returns to sugarcane first year plant was generally higher than the other rotations. However the average yield per acre is still very low as compared to the potential yield. The researchers and extension give attention to this aspect.

* The second profitable cropping pattern was rice/barseem. This is in fact that output prices of barseem fodder is higher. Those farmers have land around the road side, they prefer to grow barseem as fodder.

* Extension worker may put efforts to bring the profitable cropping pattern to the knowledge of the growers in the area.

* Further similar studies can be conducted in the other cropping patterns of the province.
Profitability of Alternative Cropping Patterns Envolving Food
and Cash Crop in Southern Sindh


 First Rice/ Rice/ Rice/
 Plan Wheat Barley Barseem


Main Product 12600 4200 3879 7776
By Product 200 352 312 232

Total Returns 12800 4552 4191 8008

Ploughing 560 490 490 560
Seed 1020 225 180 234
F.Y.M. 150 210 210 510
Irrigation 127 115 115 149
Fertilizer 580 448 448 665
Weeding 210 90 90 90
Harvesting 1800 310 278 626
Threshing 900 310 278 176
Interest 719 390 326 450
Labour 450 300 100 300
Land Rent 1200 1000 1000 1200
Usher Charges 20 40 40 40

Total Cost 7736 3928 3628 5000

Net Returns:

Excluding Land Rent 6264 1624 1563 4200
Including Land Rent 5064 624 563 3000



R.G. 1989. An introduction to positive economics (7th ed.), We- idenfeld and Nicholson London.


Jim, Munir. A, and Sajjadin. S, 1987. Farmers profitability of alternative cropping patterns in Mardan district, North West Frontier province Pakistan. CIMMYT, PARC, collaborative program.


Dominick. 1986:

Theory and problems of microeconomics theory Schaum's outline series. McGraw Hill International Book Company Singapore.


P.A. and W.d., Nordhaus, 1989. Economics (13th ed) McGraw-Hill international editions.
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Title Annotation:Industrial Pakistan-1993
Author:Khushk, Ali Mohammed; Memon, M. Yameen; Lashari, M. Ibrahim
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Jun 1, 1993
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